The United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs yesterday warned U.S. citizens worldwide about possible retaliation attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests after the death of a radical U.S.-born cleric in Yemen earlier this week. Anwar al-Awlaki, along with several other militants, was killed early on Friday in eastern Yemen in what Yemeni newspapers say was a suspected CIA drone strike. This warning will remain in place until November 30.
According to U.S. federal government officials, Anwar al-Awlaki was a senior talent recruiter and motivator who was involved with planning operations for the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda. He was implicated in helping to motivate at least three attacks on U.S. soil, and was the first U.S. citizen to be added to a list of persons approved for targeted killing by the Central Intelligence Agency. With a blog, a Facebook page, and many YouTube videos, he had been described as the “bin Laden of the Internet.” He is generally considered the leader of external operations for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“The death of Awlaki, in the near term, could provide motivation for anti-American attacks worldwide from individuals or groups seeking to retaliate against U.S. citizens or interests because of this action,” the U.S. Department of State said.
The text of the travel alert is as follows:
October 1, 2011
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for retaliation against U.S. citizens and interests following the deaths of key figures in the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula on September 30. This Travel Alert expires on November 30, 2011.
On 30 September, U.S. and Yemeni government officials confirmed that dual U.S.-Yemeni citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, the external operations leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in Yemen. Open source information also indicates that U.S. citizen and AQAP propagandist Samir Khan was killed along with him. Awlaki played a key role in advancing AQAP plots targeting the United States.
The death of Awlaki, in the near term, could provide motivation for anti-American attacks worldwide from individuals or groups seeking to retaliate against U.S. citizens or interests because of this action. In the past Awlaki and other members of AQAP have called for attacks against the United States, U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. Awlaki’s standing as a preeminent English-language advocate of violence could potentially trigger anti-American acts worldwide to avenge his death.